Study Guide

Man Listening to Disc Stanza 6

By Billy Collins

Stanza 6

Lines 26-30

This music is loud yet confidential.
I cannot help feeling even more
like the center of the universe
than usual as I walk along to a rapid
little version of "The Way You Look Tonight,"

  • The speaker gives us an overall sense of what this music sounds like here: it's "loud yet confidential." It's noisy and brash, but it's also intimate and secretive. It's a music that is full of contradiction—in a good way. 
  • In this stanza the speaker also tells us what the music does to him: it makes him feel "even more/ like the center of the universe/ than usual." Of course, we all think we're the center of the universe. We see the world from our perspective and we want things to go our way. 
  • But the music makes the speaker feel "even more" like the center of the universe. It makes him feel as if he's God, because if there is a center of the universe, "God" is as good a name for it as any. 
  • The speaker's listening to a song, "The Way You Look Tonight," which was originally performed by Fred Astaire. It's a popular jazz standard.

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